Reason Number 4: James Cook's Surprisingly Effective Ground Game
During James Cook's time in Georiga, he would only have a career high of 113 carries in his senior year at Georiga. He would see a lot more time as a receiver, to which he would be running routes as a receiver for 140 total plays in 2021.
Though not a lot of people talked about how effective he was on the ground, and from his 113 carries in 2021 Cook would average 6.4 yards per carry for 728 rushing yards. Cook would never average below six yards per carry throughout his whole college career.
This past season with the Bills, Cook was used a lot on the ground, but mainly as a decoy in the shotgun formation where Allen would have the decision to take the ball upon himself or hand it to Cook. When Cook did get the ball, he would showcase his rare explosiveness and agility that many other running back don't have.
Throughout the season, Cook improved as a player overall. At first, Cook was a player who danced around and hesitated a lot whenever he got the ball, which forced him to give up on the play a lot sooner with not many yards gained. Yet, fans and coaches noticed Cook becoming more of a threat, as his touches improved along with his production through the second half of the season.
87% of Cook's touches would be recorded through weeks 9-16, where he would record a total of 61 rushing attempts for 360 yards, which equals out to about 5.9 yards per carry. Through this span, Cook was still the runningback two on the depth chart, yet was still productive when he got the ball, and even had big games against the New England Patriots and the Chicago Bears.
Even throughout games, Cook would adapt to situations in which he would find himself still dancing around too much on one play. When he would get his next opportunity he would fix that mistake and just take what the defense would give him, and with his skill set, he'd be able to take a lot more yardage than the average player.
Just like his brother Dalvin, James Cook has rare explosiveness and agility that make it difficult for a lot of defensive players to defend. Cook also has that rare ability to reach second gear, which makes him dangerous when he's reached full speed. He has the ability to break a run for 75 yards, let alone receive a ball in stride for a huge gain.
Overall, the number one thing that Cook needs is experience, and from what Bills fans have seen from him last season, they feel like he's ready to take the starting role and run with it.... literally.